THE PASSION STROLL...
a blog by author Ashavan Doyon
The Swamps of Sadness
Growing up, my favorite films were fantasy films, of which there were few. Don't get me wrong, I love Star Wars. But it never claimed the same spot for me that the Last Unicorn did, or the top of the list for any fantasy bookworm: The Neverending Story. Of course the film is considerably more happy than the book, ending halfway at this triumphant point where Bastion has all of these wishes to make the Empress's kingdom great. But the consequences were relegated to a failed film.
Never the less, The Neverending Story had a few points that made it great. It pulled at emotions. It made you part of the story. And in the midst of the story, as Atreyu pushes forward searching for answers, you are drawn into what it means to despair.
His trusty steed fails this test and is sucked into the swamp. Indeed, Atreyu himself falls to the despair too, and is only rescued at the last minute by the luck dragon, Falcor (I don't count this as a spoiler, since the movie is 30 years old). It's meant to show that even when we despair most there is still hope. It's an ongoing theme in the story. We see it in Atreyu's determination when he continues in the Swamps of Sadness, and also when he faces the servant of the Nothing, defiant to the last.
I've felt a little like Atreyu in that swamp for the last year. Hopes. Dreams. Things I've worked on for decades and others that are newly minted. I feel like it's all falling apart sometimes.
I'm sure others have made similar points with Star Wars, the First Order, and The Last Jedi. Maybe I prefer the fantasy nebulous enemy. Maybe I stopped believing in the Force. Regardless, I find it interesting that these stories actually resonate in similar ways. To rebel against the First Order/Empire/the Nothing is a fools errand. And yet it is the action of the few: The scavenger. The deserter. The farmer. The reader. For them to rebel is the only hope.
Perhaps what I need to do is remember that story came from the rebellion of someone else first—a writer.
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Writer of the mysterious, fantastic, and the romantic. Sometimes sappy. Often angsty. Always searching for the sexy. Stories about men who love men.